I am going to assume it is strokes vs green fees only. Not adding in the price of course bought gear, beverages, foods, and tips .
At my home course, walking, I pay about $0.25 a shot. About a quarter of that would be for putts.
At places with higher dollar green fees, probably some where around $5.50 +/- per stroke could happen.
Other times my cost per stroke would be zero, while being comped by others.
Strickly learning by a book, I'd have to say books by Earnest Jones, and/or de la Torre would be good starts for a beginner. That said, I have not read all the books on golf instruction. Especially newer instruction. It is highly probable that there is better written instruction out there for the beginner.
With personal instruction, I would lean towards the stack, and tilt method, but only after a series of group instructions on the basics of the golf swing. This assuming the instructor is qualified to teach that swing, and the student has the intelligence to understand the instruction.
I am also very fond of learning the game backwards. Learning to putt well first, and working one's game backwards to the tee box. I believe this is one of the quick way for a golfer to break 90 consistently. It's my belief that learning the shorter swings first, leads to an easier understanding of the longer swings.
Lag released at the right time via a smooth accelerating downswing thru the ball. 66 and what finally helped me was Tommy Armour's description of "swishing" thru the ball with the right hand and right knee. That brought every other teachers similar advice into prospective. You can't swish if you already straightened your wrist or casted.
I agree that this follows the Stack and tilt method. I gave this a try. Then searched elsewhere and found, IMO, the best instructor ever, John Jacobs. His book, "Practical Golf", put me on the pathway to understanding the fundamentals, the swing, and teaching yourself. 66 and play right around par everyday. Also incorporated Byron Nelson's thoughts and Tommy Armour's. Ageless gold. Simple, easy, smooth, and repeatable. My $.02.